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Direct rule sees cost of advisors skyrocket

23 September, 2004

Sinn Féin Finance Spokesperson, Mid Ulster MLA Francie Molloy has expressed anger at the revelation that spending on external advisors to the NIO ministers, their departments and agencies and for quangos has increased by almost £8 million to a staggering £43.5 million over the past 12 months.

Mr Molloy said:

"Sinn Féin was deeply concerned about the rising cost of advisors and the way that contracts were being awarded when the institutions were up and running. A recent Audit Office report highlighted serious failures to ensure value for money and even cases where there were failures to establish if external consultants were even required.

"The fact that the institutions have been suspended for almost two years now means that we have NIO direct rule Ministers juggling 3 or 4 portfolios as and when they are actually here. During that time the spending on external advisors has sky rocketed to £43.5 million, a jump of over £12 million.

"The biggest joke is that we are not getting better decisions for this money. We are getting worse decisions.

"In consultation after consultation direct rule ministers are simply refusing to listen to local politicians, trade unions, to the voluntary and community sector or to the business community. The suspicion is that the only people that British direct rule ministers are listening to are expensive consultants. This is unacceptable. This is public money that is lining the pockets of a few consultants when it should be going on essential public services and in increasing investment in our infrastructure." ENDS

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